Konnichiwa Nori-San!

20220219_193223Hello Nori
1165 Robson St
Vancouver, BC

Hours: Sun to Sat 11a.m.–11p.m.
Menu: hellonori.com
Phone: (604) 564-9595

Hello Nori is a relatively new operation that opened in Vancouver’s Robson Street strip during the pandemic, and since they’re both dine-in and takeout, the difference is in whether or not the rolls are cut up for you. However, the taste will be slightly different based on how fast you eat them. The selling point is in how crunchy the sheets of seaweed are. I spotted a butane torch in the preparation area and it’s used for their aburi dishes rather than standard rolls. There are also daily sashimi offerings to which I shouldn’t have passed on. After seeing how they looked at a few bar seats away, I knew I’d have regrets. 

However, in the back of my mind, I wondered if the fish were caught Ikejime style or West coast. I suspect it’s the latter (this is BC after all), so what’s offered isn’t necessarily ‘authentic’ Japanese and more designer style to convince patrons in.

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[Vancouver, BC] On Why Kingyo is King!

20220220_194834871 Denman St
Vancouver, BC

Hours: Mon to Sun 12–2:30pm, and 4:30–10pm
Menu: kingyoizakaya.ordereze.net
Phone: (604) 608-1677

On my latest trip to the mainland for Fan Expo Vancouver, I explored the West End and visited Kingyo. Getting here isn’t that bad at night, but I’d still recommend taking a cab or Uber if safety is a concern. The stroll back along Robson Street to your hotel will help burn the calories.

This smaller sized operation is like Maneki Restaurant in Seattle’s International District; the external decor hides a warm and welcoming interior. Their daily specials have a wider variety of seafood and protein offerings than the usual fixings. It’s rare to see any place offer truffle in this style of cuisine. Next time, I’ll be back for their Pork Miso Carbonara–a pasta dish that uses the black fungi as a garnish.

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia, er Chiba! Vying more Sushi back in Victoria, BC

Chiba Sushi
2706 Government St
Victoria, BC

Hours:
Mon.-Tue., Thu. 11:30a.m.–2:30p.m.
and 4:30–9:30p.m. (Sat & Sun only)

Phone: (250) 383-9886

ES: For most of my life when challenging Victoria, BC’s crazy 7 point intersection and figuring out which way am I going, I always see Chiba Sushi. The thought of going into this operation crossed my mind and at least that decision is easier to make. This restaurant is cozy and blends a bit of the traditional–dining in a booth (shoes are taken off before entering)–with the modern. The atmosphere is better than that of  a wayfarer station. This place is almost overlooked because of its location. It’s been around for as long as I can remember. It may be older than me!

DK: I was 19 the last time I went to Chiba Sushi. New to town, and a tad naïve. I brought along a co-worker. I hoped it might be a date. She forgot her wallet. Her boyfriend picked her up. It was not a date. Ed, however, showed up with a cash card in hand and promised me his popcorn refill at a movie later. True love comes to those who wait, or popcorn and a friend at least.

Let’s continue to focus on the positive: Chiba makes a number of unique special rolls that are surprisingly satisfying. We sampled four rolls; the Mango and the Phoenix being clear winners. Both options are constructed similarly: something sweet, something tempura, something from the sea and some avocado. A winning flavour combo in both instances.

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[Seattle, WA] Come Sail Away with me at Sushi Kashiba

Sushi Kashiba
86 Pine St #1
Seattle, WA

Phone: (206) 441-8844
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

During the busy holiday weekends in Seattle, my advise is to make reservations if you want to insure getting a seat to dine at Sushi Kashiba. This port city is known for many things, and despite what anyone says about Pike Place Market, it’s home to many secret delights. I’ve known about this particular dining establishment for a while and keep on getting sidetracked when I discover something new. Even though I had a special fund just to dine here, it can get spent fast on other delights.

When considering Chef Kashiba trained under Jiro, a sushi master, I knew I’d be in for a treat.

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Not Quite Kissing the Fish With Ki Sushi in New West

Ki Sushi Restaurant
45 8th Street
New Westminster, BC

Phone: (604) 521-1833
Hours: 11a.m.–9:30p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 11a.m.–10p.m.

Even when I’m in a different part of the Lower Mainland, I gravitate to my dietary staple, fish. If only I was in Japan, I’d find most of it bought from tsukiji market, or caught right from the river and cut up for consumption. If only that was the case out in New Westminster, since it’s by the Fraser River.

Ki Sushi is voted as the best sushi restaurant 14 years in a row by some reader’s choice awards. Of course, that means by mostly locals. After travelling far and wide, just where they rank in the bigger leaderboard is not all that high. Their tuna is mid to lower grade in taste; I could tell by the colour. My recall of what I tasted at Sushi Kashiba (Seattle’s very best) and Fūdo’s when compared to this place told me there’s a huge difference and you get what you pay for, especially when concerning tuna. The BC salmon was far better.

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Not Just E:ne for Sake. Raw Food Too?

E:Ne Raw Food and Sake Bar
Address: 737 Pandora Ave, Victoria, BC
Hours: 3PM–12AM
Phone: (778) 433-0363

ES: When it comes to alcoholic beverages, I tend to appreciate sake more than beer. When I heard about this operation opening up in Victoria, BC, my taste buds were titillated. The first thing on my mind was if they carried any of those fruity brews that I see listed in menus whenever I’m in Vancouver dining establishments than anywhere else. Long story short, not all operations are interested in carrying these variations.

As I learned at a sake tasting event a week later, master brewers consider the only good sake is untainted sake. The authentic blends do not include additives. I’m open for experimentation though, including raw food.

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